Lab tests for weight loss: What they are?
August 17. 2022
Weight loss is often pretty mathematical – calories in vs. calories out, measured in the long run. However, there is another factor in this equation that’s rarely taken into consideration, and that is the complete blood count. The impact of blood count is such that it can almost completely nullify the excellent work you do with your diet and exercise; on the other hand, it may even cause unintentional weight loss when you don’t expect it. That’s why it’s essential to conduct regular blood tests to check your complete blood count while losing weight. So in this article, our medical weight loss clinic in Chicago explains all the details about weight loss lab tests, which are the most important ones, and why you should do them.
Blood panel for weight loss
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try and how far you push yourself, you don’t seem to make any progress. At least not any significant progress, considering the extent of your efforts. That is because some underlying problems are thwarting your progress and have to be tackled in order to allow your hard work to pay off. The contents of your bloodstream, such as hormones, proteins, lipids (fats), and even vitamins, all have an immense impact on how your body is functioning and how it reacts to changes in your diet and physical activity. So to keep those parameters in check, it is highly advised to conduct regular weight loss lab tests for your complete blood count to see where their levels stand and how they develop over time.
The importance of running blood tests for weight management
Even outside of weight loss efforts, maintaining healthy body weight is still heavily dependent on hormones and other contents of the bloodstream. If your blood count gets out of balance, you can soon experience unpredictable weight changes, either as a rapid weight gain or a rapid weight loss. Besides that, you might even be at risk of severe health issues, such as heart problems, pancreatic disorders, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. That’s why it’s vital to conduct blood tests in order to maintain a healthy body weight.
10 lab tests you should run for a safe weight loss
So which parameters exactly should you pay attention to within your complete blood count? In this paragraph, we will explain the ten most important weight loss lab tests and their individual parameters, which must be regularly checked for safe weight loss.
Complete liver profile tests
The liver performs several vital functions in the body – it removes toxins from your blood, maintains blood sugar levels, and prevents blood clotting. It is also essential for hormonal balance as it controls the production of various hormones and the metabolism of others, such as cortisol. That’s why it is crucial to keep liver functions in check, which is done by testing for levels of liver enzymes. The most important ones are the following:
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) – Increased levels indicate a damaged liver.
- Alanine Transaminase (ALT) – Increased levels may indicate either liver damage or disease.
- Aspartate Transaminase (AST) – This one is important for strong, healthy bones. So increased levels may indicate bone diseases aside from liver damage or disease.
- Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) – Similarly to the others, an increased level indicates liver damage.
A damaged liver does a poor job of detoxifying your blood, including removing excess fat. That leads to the accumulation of toxins in your blood, a generalized inflammation that is characteristic of obesity and storing belly fat. On the other hand, a healthy liver boosts your metabolism and helps you lose weight. That’s why it’s essential to check your liver profile regularly.
Lipid profile tests
The lipid profile tests, or fat profile tests, are something that people are usually more familiar with. They are not only crucial for your weight loss but your overall health as well. Conduct lipid profile tests while following your hCG diet to ensure the best results. They include the following parameters:
- LDL cholesterol levels – Often called ”bad” cholesterol, it collects on the walls of your blood vessels and can cause numerous health problems such as heart diseases. Low levels are optimal, while high levels put you at health risk.
- HDL cholesterol levels – The often called ”good” cholesterol, it absorbs the LDL cholesterol and transports it to the liver, where it is cleansed from the body. Low levels make way for high levels of LDL, so it’s optimal to have high HDL levels.
- Triglyceride levels -Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. A high level may put you at risk of heart disease.
Thyroid hormone tests
The thyroid gland plays a vital role in your metabolism and overall health. The thyroid hormone actually consists of three different hormones whose levels are measured by blood tests:
- Free T3 hormone
- Free T4 hormone
- TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
- Reverse T3 hormone
Hypothyroidism is a condition caused by a poorly working thyroid that releases inadequate thyroid hormone levels in your bloodstream. It causes your metabolism to slow down, which results in weight gain, muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, constipation, and intolerance to cold.
Hyperthyroidism is, on the other hand, a condition caused by an overactive thyroid that releases excessively high levels of the thyroid hormone in your bloodstream. That can accelerate your metabolism to the point where it causes unintentional weight loss while also causing a fast-paced, irregular heartbeat, nervousness and anxiety, mood swings, and insomnia.
So neither significantly high nor significantly low thyroid hormone levels are beneficial for your body. Either can cause specific health issues. Therefore, thyroid hormone levels must be kept within optimal values, which is why it’s essential to regularly conduct blood tests when you lose weight. Also, if you are wondering how to intensify phentermine, an optimally functioning thyroid is among the necessary first steps.
Insulin profile test
Another vitally important parameter that you have to test for during weight loss is insulin. This hormone is essential for healthy bodily functions, but excessive amounts can significantly influence weight gain. Insulin is a fat-building hormone, it encourages your body to store glucose, but it also prevents your body from using stored-up fat as an energy source. So high insulin levels are highly counter-productive during weight loss, especially when it comes to stubborn belly fat. Also, in addition to maintaining optimal insulin levels, taking lipo C injections is something we highly advise as they are an excellent tool to support your weight loss efforts.
Healthy weight loss depends on adequate levels of many nutrients, with iron being one of the most important. If iron levels in your bloodstream are insufficient, you may experience constant fatigue, resulting in more food cravings and less willpower to exercise. That additionally slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to achieve any solid progress. That’s why iron is so essential for proper weight loss.
To check your overall iron levels, your should test for the following parameters:
- Serum iron
- Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC)
Sex hormone tests
Sex hormones have an enormous overall impact on our bodies, which can be especially noticeable when losing weight. An imbalance can seriously thwart your efforts. You should test for the following parameters:
- Free and total testosterone
Testosterone – Testosterone is the primary male hormone but is generally important for both sexes. It is essential for building muscle and losing fat, as well as for bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Low testosterone levels can lead to insulin resistance, heart problems, and obesity. However, excessively high levels in women are associated with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can manifest in menstrual irregularities and weight gain.
Progesterone – Progesterone is a female hormone produced during ovulation, and its levels increase up to ten times during pregnancy. However, high levels of progesterone in women who are not pregnant and men can cause difficulties in losing weight. Its importance for losing weight is seen through numerous progesterone weight loss success stories.
Stress hormone tests
The primary stress hormone you should test for is cortisol. It is produced by the adrenal glands and impacts many functions in the body. Continuously high levels of cortisol negatively impact almost every organ and process in the body. They cause a loss of muscle mass, a loss of calcium which weakens the bones, negative emotional states, memory loss, and accumulation of fat, especially in the abdominal area. That is why you can frequently hear that stress is amongst the most important factors that cause belly fat. In addition, high levels of cortisol will undoubtedly weaken your motivation and willpower, which are essential for weight loss.
On the other hand, if cortisol levels drop too low, this causes a state known as adrenal exhaustion. That also negatively impacts blood sugar levels, causing hypoglycemia and may lead to unintentional weight loss.
Growth hormone tests
Another factor that impacts weight loss and the maintenance of healthy weight is the growth hormone (IGF-1) level in your bloodstream. The growth hormone is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass, as well as strong bones, healthy hair, skin, and nails. Its levels naturally decrease with age; however, an unhealthy lifestyle can cause a much sharper decrease than expected, leading to muscle mass loss, weak bones, and weight gain.
Vitamin D and vitamin B12 tests
We are all aware of the importance of vitamins for overall health, but do they impact weight loss? And how so if they do? Well, our bodies have specific markers that help them determine how to behave regarding weight management. Vitamin D is one such marker. A significant percentage of vitamin D is synthesized in the body when you are exposed to sunlight. More sun exposure equals more vitamin D in the body and vice versa.
Now, since sunlight is relatively scarce in wintertime for most regions outside of the tropics and subtropics, levels of vitamin D tend to be low for everyone during that time of the year. For your body, that is a marker that winter has come and that it should accumulate more fat deposits to keep itself warm. So if your vitamin D levels are low, your body will interpret that as if winter has come and will act accordingly, which can cause you difficulties losing weight. Therefore, sticking to a meal plan is the best solution for maintaining an adequate vitamin B intake and preventing a deficit.
In addition to vitamin D, B-complex vitamins are essential for the digestion of carbohydrates and their utilization as an energy source. That is especially true for vitamin B12. That’s why it’s an excellent idea to test for those two vitamins as part of your general weight loss lab tests.
Inflammation marker tests
A generalized inflammation in the body is characteristic of obesity. It triggers insulin resistance, increasing fat accumulation and liver fattening, further encouraging insulin resistance. That’s why even the most disciplined routine of healthy eating and exercise will show little progress if the body is inflamed. So testing for inflammation markers is also crucially important for proper weight loss. The markers you should test for are the following:
- Homocysteine – This is a protein found in the bloodstream, and it increases proportionally to insulin resistance. High levels put you at a certain risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Hs-CRP – This is another inflammation marker whose levels increase relative to body fat percentage. Similar to homocysteine, it is a protein found in the bloodstream and is usually one of the best determiners of inflammation in blood tests. High levels are a severe risk for arterial diseases.
A healthy diet and enough exercise are the foundations of weight loss and carry the most significant impact on the process. Still, certain circumstances must be favorable for those two to provide their full potential. Those circumstances are dictated mainly by your bloodstream. Your levels of hormones and other parameters such as vitamins, proteins, and fats have to be within optimal values for your body to function correctly and thus reap the benefits of your hard work. That’s why it’s essentially important to check on those parameters through blood tests regularly. If you’d like to find out more about weight loss lab tests or any other related topic, schedule your appointment, and we will gladly answer any questions you have.
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